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Shooting for the stars (and missing)

Forrest Hill Milford 2, Metro 0
Becroft Park, Auckland, July 25 2015

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Sometimes… Ok, all the time, when we go out for dinner I end up looking longingly over at Gina’s meal wishing I had ordered it. It might just be grass is greener syndrome but it never feels like it. I think the trouble stems from the fact that she plays it safe and I like to shoot for the stars – order something high risk but with potentially high rewards.

I had the same sort of issue back in my youth when I used to bet on horses. I could never back anything paying less than $7 for the win – it’s not in my DNA. I had to be the one to try to beat the odds by picking the rough outsider that would win at 100-1. This is why I was so terrible at it and had to give it up before it became a problem.

I think my luck with picking football games to go and watch tends to suffer from the same disease. I could pick a nice, safe, top of the table clash, secure in the knowledge that it will almost certainly turn out to be an interesting game. But I can’t do it. I feel compelled to pick the game that will be surprisingly close and/or turn out to be the upset of the round! The problem with that is, of course, I get it wrong on every single occasion like clockwork.

I struggle to remember the last closely fought NRFL upset I saw. If I scratch my head and rack my brains… It’s possible that one would have to go back three years, to June 30 2012, when on an excruciatingly cold Friday night at Phyllis Street I saw bottom of the table Metro dispatch high flying, at the time, Forrest Hill Milford 2-1 in what was possibly one of the upsets of the season. Lightning always strikes twice, right?

I had been deciding where to go today for a number of days when I finally settled on this game. Other contenders included Bay Olympic v Melville (ended up being a 2-1 upset win to Melville), Waiuku v North Shore (shock 1-1 draw that Shore only nicked in the 98th – yes 98th – minute), and Lynn Avon v Claudelands (2-1 upset win to Lynn Avon). I now find myself staring longingly at other people’s food wishing I’d ordered it…

It’s not like FHM v Metro was a bad game, it wasn’t. It held my interest from start to finish and enjoyed a particularly exciting passage at the end of the first half.

The home side had been doing the vast bulk of the attacking but without seriously troubling the Metro keeper, Jonathan Mannes, until the giant was seemingly awoken by a Metro shot that ricocheted off the post – threatening to give the visitors an improbable lead.

Almost straight after that, back down the other end, an FHM attack was stopped by a clear foul that caused the referee to, I think quite rightly, point to the spot. But the penalty was nicely saved by Mannes, who dived to his left to comfortably meet the shot! Then, perhaps emboldened by that, he also managed an even more brilliant stop just before the break, this time from open play, to maintain the deadlock at half time.

It didn’t take long into the second half before FHM relieved the tension though, via a Jamie Mason strike, and the game was effectively put to bed when David Mulligan doubled his side’s lead with around 25 minutes still to play. Metro battled on and enjoyed some good periods of pressure in the latter stages but there was only ever going to be one winner.

Looking at the table, FHM has now opened up a 5 point lead at the top and their early favouritism for promotion is looking well justified. Metro remain comfortably mid-table but will be keen to avoid too many more poor results lest they get dragged into a relegation scrap. In other words, normal service resumes next week!

As for me, I’ll be throwing a dart at the three league tables and taking things from there…

Categories: NZ Northern Men's Division 1

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.

1 reply

  1. a great write-up …. better than the football, well the first half anywayz. As for Clive and I, well we both said, probably one of the worst halves of football from the FHM lads, thank goodness they raised the bar, so to speak in the 2nd. I nearly went back to my office to do some more work! I guess Muli and AB had a few words at half time. Some good pics too …. 3 tough games in 4 weeks to come …. fingers crossed.

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